2008 Season

Welcome to the Bomber Banter 2008 archive! These entries were written as part of the very first version of Bomber Banter, which back then was known as the MyTriState.us Yankees Blog… which doesn’t explain why the entries are written in… I don’t know… second person?  2008 wasn’t the most fun season to be a Yankee fan, but it certainly was memorable – the Yankees tried an experiment by bringing up their big three pitching prospects and dropping them into the starting rotation:  Phil Hughes, the total package; Joba Chamberlain, the big power guy; and Ian Kennedy, the finesse guy.  It didn’t work out, but it was worth a try.  This was also the season that ESPN and FOX committed their unforgivable errors (as seen below) that I will never forgive them for (not that we were on great terms before 2008), but then, there have been incidents since then, too.  (cough! 2009 World Series! cough! Avatar! cough!)  This was also the season of a thousand injuries during which I begged the Yankees to trade for a starting pitcher and they never did.

“Last” home opener at Yankee Stadium post-poned
Everyone has been making a big deal out of the Yankees playing their last season in Yankees Stadium, but the Stadium that opened on April 18, 1923 is long gone. The Stadium was totally refurbished from 1973 to 1975. Take a look at this photo from the old stadium – and then this one from the refurbished stadium. It’s just not the same place. The new stadium is a throwback to the old design, in some respects. Everyone wants to make it out as though its an 85 year old stadium that’s closing, but its just not true. Is it sad? Of course. Is it historic? We guess… not especially… Eh…

Yankees win 2008 home opener against Blue Jays
The Yankees win a squeaker!
One of our more bitter criticisms of the Yankees in 2007 was their inability to win close games. Yesterday, they did just that. They hung with the their number 1 starter (Wang) for 7 innings of 2 run ball – sure, he gives up a lot of hits (6) but between his pitching and good defense (Melky Cabrera and Jason Giambi both made good plays), the runs didn’t come around to score. The Toronto Blue Jays were also the beneficiaries of some broken bat hits, but Melky flat out robbed them twice. Joba Chamberlin wasn’t perfect, but he pitched a very good eighth inning and Mariano Rivera was as dominant as ever in the ninth. What more could you ask for? Not leaving Johnny Damon stranded on third in the eighth inning with less than two outs? Yeah, that sucked. But its pretty satisfying to beat a pitcher as good as Roy Holliday. It’s a fun game when Melky Cabrera earns two curtain calls.

Yankees vs Blue Jays April 1 – 3, 2008
The New York Yankees opened their 2008 season up at home on a chilly evening against the Toronto Blue Jays. The game was played on the evening of April 1st instead of the originally scheduled March 31 afternoon game because of rain – it would have been the first and only game in March played at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees sent Chien-Ming Wang to the hill to oppose Toronto’s Roy Halladay, and a pitching duel followed. Although they both pitched well, Wang got the victory. Melky Cabrera’s home run, following an inning where he made two spectacular catches in the outfield and received a rare curtain call for defense, resulted in a second curtain call that reportedly prompted Halladay to yell, “Get back in the dugout!” Like Halladay, the Yankees setup reliever Joba Chamberlin where’s his emotions on his sleeve as he yelled and pumped his fist after striking out Frank Thomas to end the eighth inning. A lot of talk radio hosts made a big deal about this not being the right way to play the game, meaning that this display shows up the hitter. Thomas said this might have made him angry when he was younger, but he didn’t think it was a big deal now. He took a photo with Chamberlin sometime after the strikeout in question.
Mariano Rivera was sharp in the 9th inning and picked up his first save.
In game 2, Mike Mussina didn’t pitch terribly, but he made a few mistakes. AJ Burnett was brilliant, commanding all his pitches and picking up the win. Like the first game, the Yankees didn’t score many runs, but their pitching didn’t bail them out.
We missed most of game 3 – when we turned it on, we saw Chamberlin pitch another scoreless inning and the Yankees drive in the winning run. Mariano Rivera was again sharp and earned his second save.
The Blue Jays went home to face the Boston Red Sox and won all three games, scoring plenty of runs.
Yankees record after first 3 games: 2 – 1

Yankees vs Rays April 4 – 7, 2008
The New York Yankees played a 4 game set against the newly christened Tampa Bay Rays. First off, great name – they’ve added the sun to their logo, and they play their home games in a dome. They’ve also left the string ray on their sleeve to ease the transition for all their rabid fans. OK, maybe they had done this last year, but we honestly can’t remember.
Friday night, Ian Kennedy just didn’t have the command of his pitches, and the Rays’ bats made him pay. Also getting a good spanking was Latroy Hawkins, who combined with Kennedy to let up 12 runs. Hawkins, however, had picked number 21, not worn since Paul O’Neill retired. It’s now standard policy to chant The Warrior’s name whenever Hawkins takes the mound. He struggled again on Monday amongst a chorus of boos and chants, but managed to escape without surrendering a run. On Saturday, Andy Pettitte made his debut but tired in the 5th inning and gave up a home run that ended up being a deal closer for the Rays. Sunday, the Yankees squeaked out another low offense win with only Hideki Matsui’s 2 run homer on the board as the Yankees pitching held the Rays scoreless. Wang went 6 strong innings, then Joba Chamberlin for 2 (who was aided by an unlikely double play) and Mariano Rivera was again sharp in the bottom of the 9th. On Monday, the Yankees bats suddenly heated up for six runs. Mike Mussina pitched 6 brilliant innings of one run ball, throwing excellent curve balls, change ups and locating his fastball. He left one pitch out over the plate, and it proved to be a solo home run. If this is what Mussina is going to be this year, he’s going to win 15 games.
Summary of the first home stand: If Wang stays healthy, he’s going to have a 20+ win season. Rivera has also looked very sharp, earning 3 saves on the first home stand and spotting his pitches with apparent ease. Kyle Farnsworth also came up with a scoreless, hitless, walkless inning – the Yankees would have some bullpen if he can utilize his talent. Hideki Matsui is swinging a hot bat, and Robinson Cano is just about to heat up. Derek Jeter has a minor leg injury – he could miss the entire series against Kansas City. Jorge Posada and Jason Giambi are expected to overcome their minor ailments and rejoin the lineup in Kansas City. Shelly Duncan served his two game suspension on Sunday and Monday for the ‘sliding into second spikes up incident’ with the Tampa Bay Rays during spring training – Melky Cabrera, who did what during the incident we’re not sure, served his 2 games on Friday and Saturday.

Yankees vs Royals April 8 – 10, 2008
The New York Yankees faced off against the Kansas City Royals for a 3 game series starting April 8th and ending April 10th. The Royals got a new jumbo tron – it’s fancy.
If the Yankees were hoping for warmer weather in Kansas City, their hopes were dashed immediately in game 1. Phil Hughes was having trouble spotting his pitches and he paid the price. He never got in any kind of rhythm. The Yankees’ offense was relatively quiet; just an RBI each for Wilson Betemit and Johnny Damon. It’s easy to ignore the pitching performance in a game during which the offense can only muster 2 runs. In most cases, that’s just not going to do it. Jorge Posada was removed from the game for shoulder stiffness.
Rain was predicted for game 2, So Girardi made the bold decision to hold back his starter. His thinking (we assume) was that at some point early in the game, there was going to be rain delay. He thought he would start a reliever and then bring Ian Kennedy in after the delay was over. The gamble didn’t pay off – the rain came, but they never delayed the game. Brian Bruney pitched 2 great innings to start off, but Girardi kept waiting for the delay. The field kept getting sloppier, but the game never stopped. Eventually, Joe Girardi tried to stretch Kyle Farnsworth over two innings, and Farnsworth gave up another home run (2 HR in 5.1 innigs this season) for two Royal runs and Kennedy lets up two when he eventually made his appearance. The Yankees never create any offense and lose 4 – 0. Before the game, the Yankees optioned Shelly Duncan for shortstop Alberto Gonzalez. With Jeter out until at least April 11 and Wilson Betemit’s less than stellar performance at shortstop, the Yankees needed another infielder. The Yankees don’t have any reason to be unhappy with Duncan, but they need every relief pitcher they can get and Morgan Ensberg and Wilson Betemit don’t have any options to exercise, so sending Duncan down was the only way to make room on the 25 man roster.
With the game 2 depletion of the bullpen, the Yankees needed a strong outing from Andy Pettitte in game 3, and they got it. If the Yankees lose a few, Pettitte is the guy who’ll come in and get you a win and stop the streak. The tougher the situation, the better he is.
With no rain and reasonable temperatures, the Yankees had a dominate game. Pettitte went 6.2 innings of 1 run ball after a long 30+ pitch first inning and a 20 minute rain delay. Joba Chamberlin pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless ball and Mariano Rivera came in to get some work – he was already getting warm when the game went from a save to a non-save situation. The Yankees had a some good situational hitting from Melky Cabrera (home run, RBI single) and others. Morgan Ensberg started at 1st base (two singles) and Alberto Gonzalez started at short stop (single, sacrifice bunt). To put the save situation out of reach, Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada came up with back to back home runs in the top of the 9th. Final score was 6-1.
Game 3 was exactly what a Yankees fan wants to see – strong pitching and timely hitting. They were patient (Robinson Cano came up with his first walk of the year), they pounced on mistakes. Pettitte was tough as always and Joba powered it on while Mo did his thing that we’ve taken for granted the last decade or so.
About the rain delay – before the rain started, the tarp was put on the field. Pettitte was on the mound. The Yankees were ahead in the run column. Last night, the Royal s were ahead and the delay never came. Hmmm…

New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox April 11 2008
The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox met for the first time in 2008 on a chilly (temperature in the forties), rainy night at Fenway Park. Chien-Mien Wang was excellent with a complete game effort, letting up only 2 hits and 1 run. There was also an unjust error on Alex Rodriguez, which would have been the first hit of the game. Rodriguez made a great play at third but his throw brought Jason Giambi a bit off the bag. It was a difficult play for ARod and it looked like a hit to us – that’s how we scored it in our book, anyway. Bobby Abreu, playing the unusual Fenway Park right field, should have been charged with an error when a home run that seemed catchable ended up in the Red Sox’s bullpen. The ball seemed to hang up in the air, and Abreu was there waiting for it, up against the wall, when the ball arrived. As he jumped, he bumped the wall on his way up as he was standing too close to the wall, and the ball dropped in for a homer. It’s hard to give an outfielder an error on a home run, but Abreu was there in plenty of time and it would not have taken an extraordinary effort to catch the ball. Abreu made up for it later with a 2 out RBI.
Jason Giambi finally connected for his first home run of the season, which broke the 1-1 tie. He knocked it off Mike Timlin, who is 42 this year – yeesh!
Robinson Cano was 0-5 in his plate appearances – he doesn’t look lost at the plate, but it’s just not happening for him right now. We think he’ll break out soon – he could do with a bit more patience – he has waved at some pitches out of the strike zone. Once you see him start taking some walks, you’ll know he’s right. Jose Molina continues his hot hitting with two doubles while Jorge Posada assumes the DH role to rest his ailing shoulder. With his bat going the way it is right now, it’s going to be tough to take him out of the lineup.
Clay Buchholz had an impressive outing for the Red Sox, allowing only 4 hits and 1 run over 6 innings. We haven’t seen much of this young man, but he’s got a great curve ball. We were especially surprised to see his willingness to shake off veteran catcher Jason Varitek. It was a mistake and Buchholz paid for it with a hit, but it did give us an idea of the kid is made of. In 2007, his claim to fame was a no hitter against a beleaguered Baltimore Orioles club in September. We were surprised to see Red Sox manager Terry Francona bring in Hideki Okajima when his squad was down 3-1. He’d pitched the night before, and they have Josh Beckett going in game 2, so you figure Okajima will have a chance to get in the game.
Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz were both hitless in three trips each. Ortiz has only 3 hits in 39 at bats on the year, giving him an .077 average. True, no one is exactly tearing the cover off the ball so far this year (except Jose Molina, the lean, mean, double hitting machine… ok he’s neither lean nor mean, so far as we can tell), but he’s not showing signs of breaking out. But remember that year Jeter went 0 for April? He hit about .400 the rest of the year. Ortiz can do the same. You watch – we predict he’ll be back, and we just hope the Yankees are not in town when he finally shows up.

FOX switches from Yankees Red Sox to NASAR mid at bat
Watching sports on FOX is really annoying, what with dancing robots and Scooter, but they usually show the entire game. Not this time, though.
On Saturday, April 12, in the 9th inning, in the middle of an at bat, FOX cut away from Yankees vs Red Sox to cover NASCAR. Seriously. NASCAR. Cars were going in circles. They were making left turns. It was riveting!
Yes, we heard them say they were going to FX (although not everyone did), and not being regular FX viewers, the game was over by the time we found the correction station. Yeah, it was over… seeing as there was 2 strikes and 2 outs in the 9th inning, games tend to end pretty quickly. And over the years, aren’t we accustomed to the first event finishing and the second event starting on another channel and then switching to the primary channel after the first event is over? This way, the event gets full coverage instead of screwing around with NASCAR fans and baseball fans all at the same time.
We already new FOX sports coverage sucked – it’s just surprising whenever they go out of their way to prove it.

ESPN announcers miss Yankees injury
Sure, watching the Yankees on YES or listening to them on the radio is essentially a love fest. Watching any sports broadcast on FOX is an exercise in torture and futility. But ESPN straight up misses stuff. There comes a point in every Sunday Night Baseball episode where the game no longer holds Jon Miller’s attention and he’ll bring up some current events. Now, it’s the crew’s job to support what they’re doing – if they talk about Andy Pettitte, the director calls for a shot of Andy Pettitte and a camera man gets the shot, the technical director makes the switch, so on. So you can’t really blame anyone for not watching the game and paying attention to what’s going on accept the 2 guys who are getting paid to do commentary on the game in question.
Joe Morgan and Jon Miller were asleep again at the switch last night. You can read about Jose Molina’s hamstring injury here, but we didn’t hear them say a word about it during the game. We’re not saying they should have noticed he hurt himself sliding into home plate – we missed that, too. But when he singled in the 8th inning and barely made it to first base, it was clear he had an injury. But no, they chatted on about nonsense that no reasonable baseball fan cares about.
But, we’ll say this for ESPN – at least they showed the entire game.

New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox April 12 and 13 2008
On Saturday, April 12, the Yankees and Red Sox played game 2 of their 3 game set. Mike Mussina pitched well, but Manny Ramirez handled him as always. Ramirez homered in his second at bat (only contained to the stadium confines by a Volvo sign) and produced a 2 run RBI double. Some might think he should have walked him and pitched to JD Drew, but Drew is hot right now and no slouch of a hitter even if he wasn’t. It would be easy to be critical of the pitch selection. After pounding Ramirez inside with several fastballs, Mussina went low and a way with a pretty good curve ball – he didn’t bounce it, like he should of, but it was still a good pitch, but Ramirez new what was coming and went the other way with it for a nice piece of hitting. Josh Beckett wasn’t as perfect as Chien-Ming Wang was the night before, but he was still pretty good. Hideki Okajima had to give way to Jonathan Papelbon, but just when the Red Sox made the switch, the umpires put the game in a delay. They put the tarp on the field, took it off and put it back on again, so by the time we were ready again, Papelbon had warmed up three times. He still got the job done though. The delay was a long one, over two hours… we lost track. Fox handled the whole thing well. David Ortiz had another 0-4 day. Red Sox win a squeaker 4-3.
The rubber game on Sunday night was pretty chilly – low 40s. Terry Francona gave David Ortiz a night off – he’s healthy, he just needs to let his brain rest a day. He’ll be back. Phil Hughes took the mound against Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Hughes looked a lot like he did against the Kansas City Royals – all over the place. He made an early exit and gave way to a good performance from Ross Ohlendorf, but Ohlendorf isn’t a long reliever and eventually, a game that was finally starting to get within range for the Yankees got a little bit farther away when Kyle Farnsworth came in and surrendered a run. So far this year, Kyle Farnsworth has surrendered 11 hits, 4 earned runs, 2 HRs over 6.1 innings. Why do they keep calling on him? He makes big money and he’s got 6 strike outs. Joe Girardi thinks he’ll straighten out – we’re not so sure. It’s not really in his history… check it out. In any event, despite Giambi’s 2nd home run of the series, Phil Hughes’ inability to throw strikes made this a hard game for the Yankees to win during the early goings. Oh and the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball announcers were slacking off on the job again – check that here. Red Sox win 8-5.

New York Yankees vs Tampa Bay Rays April 14 and 15, 2008
Finally finding some relief from cold temperatures and rain, the New York Yankees visited the Tampa Bay Rays for a short 2 game series. On April 14, Ian Kennedy seemed to pitch with a lot more confidence as the Yankees scored runs early. He really did a nice job of challenging hitters and getting first pitch strikes. He started the seventh inning, but was hit with a comebacker and was removed from the game. He posted a decent line of 6+ innings, 3 earned runs. That’s not a great line, but it gives your team a chance to win. That’s when things got interesting.
The score was 7-2. Billy Traber entered the game to serve up a 2 run homer. Not to be outdone, Brian Bruney came in and served up back to back blasts to B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria. We’re not being especailly critical of Bruney – he’s been brilliant this year until this inning. Joe Girardi must think so, too, because with the absence of Joba Chamberlin, he let Bruney get two outs in the eighth before giving way to Mariano Rivera, who has quietly been lights out this year, having his best April in years.
After that devistating seventh inning which featured 3 Tampa homeruns, Robinson Cano pitch hit for Alex Gonzales and broke a 7-7 tie, hitting the ball into the last row of the bleachers for thrilling homer off Al Reyes. Earlier in the game, Alex Rodriguez hit career home run number 521. Johnny Damon and Morgan Ensberg also homered. Derek Jeter finally returned to the line up, still not at full strength with that leg injury, but well enough to come up with 2 RBI. Chad Moeller was called up from triple A for Jose Molina, who injured his hamstring during the rubber game against the Red Sox on Sunday. Moeller did a nice job handling the pitching staff.
On April 15, Andy Pettitte took the mound after a lead off homerun from Johnny Damon got the game started. Pettitte was surrounded by base runners for the first few innings, but we kept the faith – Pettitte’s toughness with runners on base is legendardy. He settled down and went seven innings and gave up 3 runs. Joe Girardi decided to trust the eight inning to Kyle Farnsworth, who surprised us with a nice 1, 2, 3 inning. We’ve been very critical of him during his Yankee tenure, but he really looked as though he knew exactly what he wanted to do. He threw a great slider to the first hitter he faced – it was very impressive. Mariano Rivera came in for the ninth inning and did a spectacular job again, recording his fifth save. He’s been extremely sharp in the early going.
The offense did some good things in this game, but they also left a small village on the base paths (10). We’re not saying we’re concerned with the offense, but jeez. There were some quality hits with runners in scoring position, but the Yankees left the bases loaded with less than two outs twice.

Yankees vs Red Sox April 16 and 17 2008
The Yankees and Red Sox met for the first time at Yankees Stadium for an abbreviated two game series. Brian Bruney pitched well in game 1. Josh Beckett pitched well in game 2. Everybody else sucked.
Game 1 saw a rewnal of last friday’s matchup between Chien-Ming Wang and Clay Buchholz, who both pitched well that night. Not so on the 16th. Buchholz got tacken out of the park twice in the first inning (by Abreu, ARod) and Wang, while keeping the ball in the park, couldn’t do much more than that. The runs scored were too numerous to mention. Brian Bruney pitched well over 2 innings. That’s it. Final score a bloated 15-9.
Mike Mussina was 6 feet 2 inches of stubborn mediocre fastballs away over three innings of work during game 2. It seemed that he’d forgotten that Manny Ramirez had punished him all day long last Saturday afternoon. Manny took Moose deep twice. Mussina just wasn’t willing to keep coming up and inside on him with some fastballs, and he seemed unwilling to throw some curveballs in the dirt away or a change up… something other than these mediocre fastball mistakes that get pounded into next week. Josh Beckett, on the other hand, was very effective. 2 seam fastballs, 4 seam fastballs, rare breaking balls – he did a very nice job over eight innings, a true ace. Jonathan Papelbon came in to work a non save situation and got hit around a bit – he gave up a manufactured run and a solo home run to Melky Caberara. Red Sox win, 7-5.
The Yankees head out on the road again with a 9-8 record.

Yankees vs Orioles April 18 thru 20, 2008
We didn’t get to watch too many innings of this series – and we consider ourselves lucky.
On April 18, Phil Hughes made the start against Daniel Cabrera. Hughes got through five innings and allowed only 1 run, but it all fell apart in the 6th. Four runs later, Hughes was removed for LaTroy Hawkins, who gave up two more runs. After that, Edwar Ramirez came in and finished up the game and gave up another run. What’s that, about eight? Lost count… Orioles win by a score of… more runs than the Yankees had scored. Yeah. At least Jose Molina was able to catch – they stuck Posada at first base and moved Matsui to right field and sat Abreu and Giambi on the bench in light of the lefty Cabrera starting.
In game 2, Ian Kennedy started for the Yankees and didn’t get out of the third inning. Super. 5 hits, 5 walks, 4 runs… eh…. Joba Chamberlin returned to the Yankees and pitched a scoreless inning. Super. The Yankees scored no runs. None. Not one. As Q Bert would say, #$%!
So, lose 3 games in a row and wonder, who ya gonna call? Andy Pettitte. Pettitte was tossing a perfect game through 4 2/3 innings until Jay Payton hit an infield single. All told, Pettitte allowed 4 hits, had 5 Ks and walked none over 7 innings. The offense finally clicked for 7 runs and the Yankees won the game to get their record back to an even 10 and 10 before a day off and another trip back out on the road.

April 21: the Yankees only day off
In Aprils past, the Yankees usually enjoy using their fifth starter once or twice. Not this year – instead of having nearly every Monday off, the Yankees only had one day off from their opening day on April 1st, playing 29 games in 30 days, setting a major league record for the most games played before the first of May. Maybe leg muscle injuries to Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter can be attributed to this tough schedule, but Phil Hughes has probably had that stress fracture for most of spring training, and Jorge Posada began complaining of shoulder pain after the first game. Brian Bruney slipped on the field – that might have been one of the zillion games the Yankees played in the rain this April. Their record is exactly the same as it was at the end of last April, when they didn’t have Chien-Ming Wang and ARod hit what, 14 home runs? The Yankees are down right now, but we’ll have to see how things go and hope their best ball is still ahead of them.

Yankees injury report May 3 2008
Oh, the humanity!
We’re pretty sure the Yankees are at least tied for the most players on the disabled list, what with the Tommy John group. People get hurt, its a long season, but this has been rough. Let’s go down the list:
Derek Jeter has had some quad issues, but he’s back in the every day lineup and seems to be moving well. It gave us a look at Alberto Gonzalez, who is a great fielder but has hit well since being called up.
Wilson Betemit has pink eye. Seriously! Pink eye. Is he 12 or does he have kids? Jeez… damn filthy locker rooms. [singing] can’t find a Betemit…
ARod has landed on the 15 day DL with a quad issue. We’re blaming all quad issues on the cold weather – ARod and Jeter are both in great shape.
Jorge Posada’s baffling shoulder injury apparently won’t require surgery, which is pretty good news for the Yankees, assuming he’s able to come back to the line up and hit.
Phil Hughes has a stress fracture in his rib, which does explain why his fastball command has been so erratic and his velocity down since spring training. He’s probably been pitching on that for a long while now and no one expects him back until at least July, but we’re figuring August 1st. This really sucks – we were counting on Hughes for a big year. Darrell Rasner had a great April and has an ERA under 1, so we’re hoping he can pick up the slack. Even if his ERA goes up by 3 runs, that’s still be OK. Assuming this offense gets it together. More on that in a few. There’s also these rumblings that Hughes has trouble seeing at night, as we saw in the crazy amount of cross ups with Chris Stewart and we’ve heard that he may wear some sort of glasses when he returns.
Joba Chamberlin had a minor tweak of the leg a week or so ago, but it didn’t end up being a big deal. Who knows where the Yankees would be without him in the bullpen and Chien-Ming Wang in the starting rotation.
Jose Molina had a hamstring issue on a cold night in Boston, but he seems to be back to playing strength, although it appears he’s going to split time with Chad Moeller, who the Yankees were able to reclaim after he cleared wavers following the Chris Stewart experiment. Molina probably isn’t up to playing every day anyway – he never really has in his big league career. He’s a great defensive catcher and since coming to New York, he’s done a great job with the bat.
And now we come to our beloved Brian Bruney. Bruney slipped a week or so ago and ended up spraining his foot. Initially, we’d heard season ending surgery for the unique sprain, but we heard that he said it doesn’t hurt at all and he can’t believe he needs surgery, so he might wear a boot for a month and then start making his way back. We sure hope so – if can be effective, the Yankees could really use him. His numbers have been great this year and his return makes moving Joba Chamberlin to the starting rotation a lot more feasible. We don’t want to trust the 8th inning to Kyle Farnsworth, who isn’t terrible and keeps getting better, or LaTroy Hawkins, who is. (just a note – Hawkins changed his number from 21 to 22 to get the Paul O’Neill fans off his back, which was a good idea, but yeah, we had a guy wear 22… maybe you’ve heard of him, he’s been in the news a lot lately… Roger Clemens ring a bell? You have to wonder if the chant is going to change from, “Paul-O-Nei-ll!” to “You-Banged-Mindy!”)
Yankees ever changing roster | Yankees Disabled list
As for this slumbering offense, it’s time for a change. Here’s the batting order and lineup we’d run out there:
1 Damon (LF)
2 Abreu (RF) – they need Matsui in the clean up spot and they need to break up the lefties to avoid lefty relievers later in the game. Jeter is a good enough hitter to bat 3rd, no doubt.
3 Jeter (SS) [this is the first year Jeter’s looked a bit old at shortstop]
4 Matsui (DH)
5 Cabrera (CF)
6 Giambi (1B) – Duncan against lefty starters
7 Ensberg (3B) – We’re ok with Gonzalez getting a chance and batting 9, move everybody else up 1 spot. We like his speed at the bottom of the order.
8 Cano (2B) – this guy is close to breaking out, but it just hasn’t happened yet
9 Molina (C)

The Yankees unveil plan B, v 2008
As the first month of the season draws to a close, the Yankees find themselves about where they were last year in the standings, but things certainly have a very different look and feel.
Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez are both on the DL, taking big bats out of the lineup. Sure, ARod isn’t having the monster year he had in 2007, but he’s a rare right handed power bat in the Yankees left handed heavy line up. Posada’s switch hitting will be missed, but his leadership and handling of the pitching staff will be missed more. Sounds like he’ll need a month of complete rest before he works his way back. The Yankees still have an exciting team, but this situation blows.
Phil Hughes is also on the DL and Ian Kennedy has been sent down to the minors. Both Hughes and Kennedy had an ugly April, but Hughes will need at least a month of rest before he starts building up arm strength. Hughes hasn’t shown the velocity or fastball control we’d seen from him previously, and apparently this stress fracture in his rib cage is the reason. We’d still seen a pretty snappy curve ball from him and he was mixing in his new slider, but not many change ups, which we thought was puzzling. When he got hurt in 07, he had an excellent change up going against the Rangers during a no hit bid, but a leg injury cut his day and season short. Kennedy has some great starts at the end of last year, but this year, he’s had maybe one good start against Tampa, and that’s pretty much it. Sure, one month does not a season make, but Kennedy has really nibbled at the plate and been reluctant to challenge hitters, so they’re letting him work his problems out on the triple A level. We’re not sure if this is the wise move – triple A hitters may not have a lot of success against a struggling Kennedy the way major league hitters will, but only time will tell.
Since the Yankees only need a fifth starter twice during the month of April, they’ve called up Darrel Rasner, who had a great April at triple A Scranton-Wilkes Barre with an ERA under one, so he’ll take the four spot. As for the two fifth spots, we’ll get to see the 2008 major league debut of expensive lefty Kei Igawa, who flat out stunk last year. Igawa just couldn’t keep the ball down, and it cost him his spot on the big club, despite the cash he’s earning. From day one, the Yankees always referred to him as a long term project, but we’re not sure how long they meant, and we certainly didn’t think they meant starting 08 at triple A. We doubt Igawa will turn any heads and we think Kennedy will have enough of his act together to be the fifth starter in June. But we think that ultimately, the Yankees will shop a few prospects for a starting pitcher before the trade deadline.

Yankees vs Rays May 12 and 13 2008
The Yankees headed back to the land of cowbells and The Heckler at Tropicana Field, home of the streaking Tampa Bay Rays, who are enjoying their best record in franchise HISTORY.
May 12: You see a 7-1 loss in the paper the next day and think, “Wow, Yanks really got blown out last night,” but then you look in the box score and see the Pettitte got his butt kicked in the fourth inning and you think, “Well, it’s hard to come back after a demoralizing inning like that.” Maybe. But the Yankees aren’t exactly a team of rookies and even with their injuries, they still have some firepower. It’s easy to complain about Pettitte, but when your team only scores 1 run, what’s the difference? No team is going to win a lot of 1-0 games, we don’t care who they have pitching.
May 13: It must be really annoying for Chien-Ming Wang to go seven innings and give up only 1 run and not get a win. But that’s what happened.
Wang pitched very well, but not good enough to beat the Tampa Bay Rays’ Edwin Jackson, who didn’t give up a run. Sure, as a Yankees fan, you have to see them lose an extra inning game, but those are tough games to win and even tougher when you’re on the rode. The Rays are pitching out of their minds right now, and the Yankees simply haven’t been hitting or picking up the slack since Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez went on the DL. Morgan Ensberg nor anyone else has picked up the slack at all since ARod went down – sure, ARod has some gigantic shoes and we’re not expecting anyone to fill em, but you could at least try em on and tie those laces extra tight. Jose Molina has done a good job behind the plate, but since his leg injury, he hasn’t hit much at all. He was a double machine before that chilly night at Fenway Park, but his bat has gone extremely quiet now. The Yankees left Jeter on third after a big triple with less than two outs… leaving runners in scoring position has become a trademark of late for the Yankees.

the Yankees lineup just got longer
May 20, 2008
With the Yankees tumbling into last place in a suddenly formidable AL East, the lineup is about to get an injection – the legal kind.
Alex Rodriguez is returning to the team after missing 15+ games on a disabled list stint that healed up a leg issue. The Yankees have lost 5 of their last 6 games and need ARod’s bat back in the lineup. Why, you ask? Simple:
Without Jorge Posada or Alex Rodriguez in the lineup, the batting order gets pretty short, especially against left handed starting pitching. You can’t expect Shelly Duncan to step in and make up for this loss, and everyone else is pretty much left handed. (Wilson Betemit doesn’t show a ton of power from the right side.) Now the Yankees can send a lineup like this out there:
Damon LF (lh) Jeter SS (rh) Abreu RF (lh) ARod 3B (rh) Matsui DH Cabrera CF (rh) Giambi 1B (lh) – Shelly Duncan can pitch hit if they match up with a lefty later in the game Cano 2B (lh) Molina C (rh)
But, no matter what happens, it’s getting late early, as Yogi Berra used to say. There are still around 100 games left, but they Yankees are going to have to hit and pitch very well to catch up. You figure teams like the Orioles and Rays will fall a bit back to earth and the Jays will be hampered by injuries, but it’s going to be a tough climb for this team and a trade is probably imminent, no matter what Hank Stienbrener quotes you might read.

Orioles spank Yankees
Sure, it’s a catchy title for this entry, but it’s just not true: tonight, the Yankees beat themselves. The Orioles did help, though.
How much can you say about a game when the home team’s starter doesn’t make it out of the first inning? Mike Mussina has always been notorious for his devotion to his routine, and sure enough, with an extra day’s rest, the man who ate peanut butter sandwiches in his room during the Japan trip a few years back blew up. Sure, there were two outs and Derek Jeter made another error, but jeez. Pick somebody up, for our sake.
Note – Jeter has 5 errors, far off from Julio Lugo’s MLB leading pace of 11, but still not that good. Get your stats here.
Anyway, the offense only came up with two runs, but how do you overcome 7 runs in the first inning while your bullpen has to come with 8.1 innings? You’re just not going to win that game. And Jeter getting hit by that pitch was just salt in the wound. Sure, we’re glad ARod is back and homered, but this team has a long way to go before it turns it’s record back to .500 again. And it’s getting late early.

Joba Chamberlin begins transitioning to the starting rotation
The Yankees are now working on moving Joba Chamberlin into the starting rotation. This has been a huge controversy amongst members of the media for some time now, but they don’t get a vote. Chamberlin has been as close to perfect as you can really ask for as a setup reliever and has not yet made a start for the Yankees. Those who favor keeping Joba in the pen argue that he’s been brilliant as a setup man and should be the successor to Mariano Rivera. Others say Chamberlin can be a number one starter to match up with the Boston Red Sox’s Josh Beckett. We’re inclined to believe that he should be given the chance to start – if he can’t do it, they can always move him back to the pen. While it’s great to shorten the game by a few innings, middle relievers are always going to get pounded with work, especially on teams like the Yankees that always seem to find a way to compete. Chamberlin has four pitches – they might not all be as good as his fastball and slider combo, but his curve ball and change up are not bad at all and have plenty of time to develop. He’s also been working on a two seam fastball. For us, you have to give him a chance to start for two reasons:
1. Mariano Rivera has a four year contract
2. great end of the game relievers are worthless if you don’t have starting pitching.
Check out the MLB.com article here.

Yankees win series against Baltimore Orioles
May 22, 2008
It seems like it’s been a month or so, but the Yankees finally won a series. Sure, they got their butts whipped by themselves and the Orioles in the first game, but when you look back at the series, you see that the Yankees won more games than the Os.
In game two, the Yankees offense finally exploded. Sure, Alex Rodriguez was robbed of his second home run of the game, but it didn’t matter – the Yankees pitching totally shut down the Orioles offense. Darrell Rasner came up with another great performance. In three starts, his numbers aren’t mesmerizing – accept his ERA. Check em out here.
In game three, Ian Kennedy had a good start 6 innings of 1 run ball, his best since April 14 against the Tampa Bay Rays. See his numbers here.
With a tie game going into the bottom of the ninth, hilarious antics ensued when Jason Giambi was struck out, apparently for the ball fouling off the knob of his bat and into the catcher’s waiting glove. Joe Girardi didn’t agree and his argument eventually got hit tossed. He threw his hat on the ground, picked it up, threw it on the ground again, and kicked dirt at the umpires. It was delightful. Then, Robinson Cano hit a single the other way to drive in Hideki Matsui for the winning walk off run.
It should be noted that the Yankees pitched great all night. Kennedy got into trouble, but he pitched smart all night long, even in pressure situations, with 1 out and the bases loaded. Joe Veras got himself into trouble in the 7th, but he got out of it. Kyle Fansworth and Mariano Rivera both pitched one, two three innings. Really impressive stuff. The Yankees have won some really close ball games this year, something we didn’t think they did so well last year. They’ve still got a long hill to climb, but one thing’s for sure – at least they’re capable.

Yankees Ian Kennedy on DL
May 28, 2008
The Yankees haven’t had to put anyone on the DL since Jonathan Albaladejo on May 10, so it’s been over two weeks, a 2008 season record. It’s just been that kind of year.
Ian Kennedy is just the latest to join the list of the damned with a strained right lat muscle. In an MLB.com article, Kennedy implied it hurts when he breathes – that sounds like a bad day. We at MyTriState.us pretty much breathe all the time, every day, all day long… We’re not sure if Joba Chamberlin will have enough arm strength to make a start in Kennedy’s place or if maybe they’ll give somebody from Scranton might get a chance.
Well, so much for counting on the young pitching this year. We speculate that Phil Hughes hurt himself in spring training, as he never was able to command his fastball this year. Ian Kennedy never really delivered like he had last year, and this setback isn’t going to help any. On the other hand, Darrell Rasner, who we always thought was destined for the ‘never was’ file, is having a fine year. So for the present, its looking like the rotation is going be Wang, Mussina, Rasner, Chamberlin and Pettitte. We know the Yankees have a lot of pitching prospects in the minor leagues, but they might not develop fast enough to help the team this year. We still think a trade is imminent – the Yankees have never been a team to rest on its laurels.

Yankees lose in extra innings to Orioles
May 27, 2008
You stay awake through a rain delay, you watch extra innings, the minutes tick past on the clock and the morning gets closer and closer, but at least you get to watch the Yankees creep back to .500.
Or not.
A wild game that boasted a zillion home runs by both teams ended in a 10-9 eleventh inning win by the Baltimore Orioles when the Yankees simply ran out of competent relievers. After a shaky but scoreless 1.1 innings by Kyle Farnsworth (whew!) and two scoreless innings by Mariano Rivera, the Yankees took the lead in the top of the 11th on a single up the middle by Hideki Matsui. With no where else to turn to, the Yankees brought in LaTroy Hawkins, who promptly blew it.
We can’t say we’re shocked – he stinks. Check out his numbers. He stinks. 25 hits and 11 walks in 24 innings is a ton of base runners 15 strikeouts are hardly anything to write home about. He was only able to get 1 out before he gave up a long hit to end the game. With a runner on third and only one out, the Yankees decided to walk the bases loaded and create a force at any base, as you can’t even think of asking Hawkins for a strike out. He was unable to keep the ball on the ground and with a loud hit that landed nearly on the warning track and well over the drawn in outfielder’s heads, the game was over just. Yankees pitching blew the lead three times – totally unacceptable! Last year with Colorado, LaTroy Hawkins only gave up 21 runs in 55.1 innings ALL YEAR – he’s already given up 18 runs this year. There’s a big difference between pitching in the NL West and the AL East, as Hawkins is discovering that there are no easy outs here. There are still over 100 games to go, but we’re sick of Hawkins. We don’t want to see him in any games again unless its in a mop up roll.
OK, Brian Cashman, you’re on: fix this bullpen!

Yankees need to make a trade
June 20, 2008
Sure, the Yankees have won their last seven games and with two more inter-league series with the Cincinnati Reds Pittsburgh Pirates, they could possibly extend it to thirteen. The point is, they aren’t going to play teams that suck for the rest of the season.
It’s easy to identify the Yankees trouble areas – first and foremost, they need another reliever, a true eighth inning guy who isn’t going to give up a zillion home runs. True, Kyle Farnsworth does usually give up the home run to the first batter he faces and then he straightens out, but we wouldn’t want to trust him in a playoff situation.
The next big need, almost as crucial, is another starter. With Chien-Ming Wang out till at least September 1st, the Yankees need Andy Pettitte to step up and lead the rotation, which is a lot to ask a guy who’s not as strong as he used to be (fastball tops out around 90) and isn’t as young as he used to be (just turned 36). Mike Mussina has been pitching way over his head this year and we can’t expect him to keep doing it all year long. Don’t let the 10 wins fool you – he doesn’t pitch deep into ball games and he’s given up more than a hit per inning, but he’s keeping his walks down (numbers).
We’re happy with what we’re getting from Joba Chamberlin so far – his last performance included nine strike outs, but only 5.2 innings. He’s been strong throughout his games, but he’s still got a bit of growth to do and we can’t really count on him for big things. But, we do think he’s capable of them. We know the Yankees grabbed Sidney Ponson off the waiver wire, but we also remember how that went down the last time the Yankees tried him.
We figure Seattle will be a seller, and we doubt the Indians will keep CC Sabathia as they probably can’t sign him this winter, or they would have done so already. We don’t have any great suggestions for either need, but then, we’re not GMs. We can see the holes, but then, anybody can walk into a flooded basement and see a pipe gushing water all over the floor and say, “There’s your problem.” The Yankees just better find a damn good plumber.

Yankees can’t score
The Yankees have now lost three games in a row and are struggling to score runs. The thing that makes these loses so painful is that the opposition didn’t score many runs: 3, 2 and 3 respectfully. Even a great offense is going to experience slumps, but the Yankees can ill afford to in the competitive AL East, as they potentially compete for the division title and wildcard with two other teams. With the Yankees pitching being what it is, the offense has to once again put the team on it’s shoulders just as it did last year and come up with another grinding performance in the second half. The 2007 team had the best record in baseball during the second half of the season, and a near equal feet may be necessary this year. And this year, ARod isn’t going to have 150 RBIs. But, on the other hand, this team has a better record than last year’s team did at this point, as they were still slipping and sliding around .500. But frankly, this team is not that much better, and the pitching is going to have to step up and the hitters are going to have to play to form, or it’ll be a Red Sox, Angels, Tampa Bay and White Sox post season in the AL.

Yankees score 18 runs
July 2, 2008
As soon as we open our mouth to b1tch, the Yankees offense goes and sticks 18 runs in it. In our mouths. Our bad.
And we don’t think the Yankees are going into a feast and famine mode either, but Sidney Ponson stinks. Again, like we’ve said before, the Yankees need to make a trade! Yeah yeah, we got it – Giambi hit a grand slam, ARod homered, blah blah blah… Giambi had what, 6 RBI? And Brett Gardner is easily the fastest guy on the team… but somethings got to be done about the pitching.

Yankee Stadium Hosts Home Run Derby and All Star Game Snooze Fest
July, 2008
Yawn Thank God it’s over.
That’s right, we said it – the All Star festivities are a great cure for insomnia, and that’s where it ends. Sure, it’s twice as entertaining as any other sport’s All Star event (the NBA puts us in a coma while more than 20 minutes of an NFL All Star game would be a lethal dose), but the whole thing needs a serious rehashing.
Let’s start here:
Holy crap, the Home Run Derby is too long. There isn’t enough voltage to electroshock us back to coherency after sitting through one of these things.
Here are the rules as posted on Baseball-Statistics.com:

* Round One: 10 contestants, each player gets 10 outs per at bat; top four advance
* Round Two: 4 contestants, each players gets 10 outs per at bat; top two advance
* Round Three/Championship: 2 contestants, each players gets 5 outs per at bat
* An out is registered when a player swings at a pitch and does not hit a home run. A ball hit over the fence must be fair to count as a home run.
* Since a home run does not count as an out, an infinite number of home runs is possible.

Lets tune this down to 6 contestants, the idea being one contestant from each division. Maybe that won’t always work out, but all the better to get the first round over a bit faster. Therefore, only the top 3 advance to round 2. Also, let’s trim round one down to 5 outs. We’ll leave round two the same, except with only 3 contestants and leave round 3 untouched. Simple – we guarantee this’ll cut an hour off the experience. And if State Farm doesn’t like that, sucks to be them!
Now to the near travesty that the All Star game has turned into – this is an easy fix. If this stupid game is to determine home field advantage for the World Series, (which is a really dumb idea, by the way) then will someone smack the managers back into reality and let them know that everyone on the roster does NOT have to make an appearance in the game? Let two starters go three innings a piece so if the game does go into extra innings again (and there is a high probability it often will – good pitching is always going to dominant good hitting, and the All Star selected pitchers are always great), you won’t have to worry about running out of relievers. Secondly, while we understand that no one wants to get hurt, if a relief pitcher only throws nine pitches, he can go back out there to at least start the next inning. Sheesh! Use some common sense! If home field advantage ever gets decided because a position player gives up a home run, we will collectively vomit. As a wise man once said, “‘Nuff said.”

Yankees sweep As
July 18-20, 2008
Obviously, the Yankees administered a spanking on Friday, winning soundly by a score of 7-1, most notably featuring a great performance by Mike Mussina.
Saturday was a really humid day with temperatures in the 90s, but that didn’t stop a sold out crowd from grassing the house that Ruth built for a 12 inning affair with the Oakland As. The first pitch was thrown by Tom Coughlin, who through off the rubber – he would have no less! He hit the glove – not bad for a 62 year old.
Joba Chamerblin toed the rubber for the Yankees and he pitched a solid game. Six innings pitched, 1 earned run, 1 walk and eight strike outs – count ’em, eight strike outs.
Kyle Farnsworth came on to pitch the 8th inning in during the 2-2 tie. Farnsworth struck out 1 over the hittless inning and is having his best year in pin stripes – it is a contract year for him…
The Yankees did a decent job of getting Oakland starting pitcher Sean Gallagher out of the game with 2 ER and only 5 innings to his credit. But, the bullpen held the Yankees for the sixth, seventh and eight innings until the As offense could tack on 1 run in the seventh (scored against Jose Veras) and another in the ninth (scored against Mariano Rivera, who has not yet blown a save opportunity this year) making a for a 3-2 lead with the Yankees stepping up for their last licks in the bottom of the ninth.
Jason Giambi and the stache were on full display, which has become a lot of fun. There were plenty of people wearing the fake stache, despite the heat. And then, in the bottom of the 9th, Jason Giambi came up with a walk and was pulled for a pitch runner, Christian. He prompty blew it as he  fell down during a stolen base attempt. Robinson Cano doubled after Posada got out, and with two outs, Wilson Betemet came up with an RBI single to tie the game against the Oakland closer, Houston Street.
After that, the dead bat society took over again, and the Yankees left a total of 21 (that’s twenty one) runners on base.
Edwar Ramirez put on an impressive display during the tenth and eleventh innings, during which he allowed no hits and struck out 4 batters. Ramirez has quietly become on the most dependable pitchers in Joe Girardi’s bullpen.
The game came to a close in a fitting anti climatic fashion, with Jose Molina getting hit by a pitch with bases loaded to drive in the winning run, giving Jose Molina the admiration of his teammates and a sore knee.

Yankees sweep Twins
July 21-23, 2008
Over three games at Yankee Stadium, the Minnesota Twins turned out nearly identical performances: good or decent performances from their starting pitching over five or six innings, and then the position players and bullpen pretty much head out to lunch. The Twins made a ton of mental errors in the field over the series – some ugly errors, pitchers not covering first on double play opportunities, the infielders not knowing how many outs there were… not a good weekend for the Twins, who are currently contending for a wild card spot with the Yankees and Red Sox.
But, not to be missed, we want to commend the performances by Darrel Rasner, Sidney Ponson and Mike Mussina. Sure, the Twins are a small ball team, but they score runs – Rasner and Ponson did reasonably well at holding the Twins down and giving the team a chance to win. Mussina, on the other hand, baffled the Twins over eight punishing innings. Sure, the ninth inning almost got out of hand, but that’s what Mariano Rivera is for. Since the All Star break, the Yankees are 6-0 and before that, they’ve won 10 games in a row at home. Now comes a real test – the Red Sox at Fenway. The Red Sox are way under .500 on the road, but they are dominant at home. This’ll be a real test of Joba Chamberlin’s nerves…

Yankees trade scrubs for Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady
July 31, 2008
Brian Cashman is a bandit. As in, “makes out like a”, know what we’re saying? No? We’ll demonstrate:
Damaso Marte is a pitcher that few teams can boast – he’s left handed and he can throw hard. He’s not just a specialist in our opinion – he can set up or maybe even close some day. Marte is a bad boy, make no mistake.
Xavier Nady has already played in NY with the Mets and has a life time .280 batting average and this year, he’s hitting about .330, so he ads another right handed bat. He’s spent most of his time in the outfield, but he has seen some time at first base in his career. In addition to Richie Sexton, Nady should help the Yankees pathetic performance against left handed starting pitching this year.
So what did Pittsburg get back? Get ready, Yankees fans, you just gave up:
Jeff Karstens – currently residing in the never was file. We don’t project him to ever get any better than a long man out of the pen or maybe a spot starter. His stuff just isn’t that good, nor does he throw hard. He gets hurt a lot, too.
Dan McCutchen – frankly, we can’t remember this guy… his numbers seem to indicate that he’s an above average triple A pitcher and at 26, we wonder if he’s ever going to improve.
Ross Ohlendorf – we thought it might happen for this guy, who does throw reasonably hard, but with the Yankees this year, he got pounded fairly hard fairly often… He was a starter, but it didn’t look like it was going to happen for him.
Jose Tabata – we heard that Tabata, who is often projected as an outstanding young talent, left a minor league ball park (possibly at AA Trenton) before the game was over, citing that he couldn’t handle the pressure. Tabata is only 20 or so, but jeez – if you can’t handle the minors, we can’t ever expect him to make it to New York.
So why did the Pirates make this deal? No idea. Marte is not eligible for salary arbitration until after 2009. Nady is a free agent after the season, but why not resign him? He’s not that expensive and he’s an experienced, well rounded veteran who can teach and help a young team… but the Pirates’ bumbling is the Yankees gain. Well done, Cashman!

Yankees trade LaTroy Hawkins for Matt Cusick
July 30, 2008
In a move that will prompt us to throw Brian Cashman a parade, the Yankees traded LaTroy Hawkins for Matt Cusick. Now, you might be saying, “Matt who?” and rightly so – Cusick is a Class A infielder from the Houston Astros organization. A few days ago, Hawkins was released when the Yankees aquired Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady and need to make roster space, and Hawkins was a natural choice, because he stinks. Yes, that’s right – he stinks. Hence, they got a nobody back for him. Will Cusick grown into a major leaguer? No idea, but Hawkins is gone, and the team is better by his subtraction, no question.

Yankees trade Kyle Farnsworth for Ivan Rodriguez
July 31, 2008
Once the path of shoulder surgery was elected for ailing catching Jorge Posada, the way was paved for Brian Cashman to make a straight up trade of often stumbling setup man Kyle Farnsworth for 14 time All Star catcher Ivan Pudge Rodriguez. This marks Cashman’s second, though less severe, robbery of this season – the first being Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady from the Pittsburg Pirates. Some might say this is a case of two clubs getting what they need – Detroit with it’s blundering bullpen and New York losing Posada to surgey, but frankly, Farnsworth makes too many mistakes in key innings, and Pudge is a certified hall of famer, one of the great catchers in the history of the game. Check out Pudge’s stats – now Farnsworth’s. We know they’re not at the same position, but it’s easy to see who’ll be remembered when all is said and done.
With the departure of Farnsworth, we assume that Marte, Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez will be in a battle for the setup role, but we’re pretty certain any one of the three will be as good or better than Farnsworth was at it.

Yankees shake up lineup
Aug 16, 2008
After a horrible rode trip and an off day, the Yankees have made some roster moves that they’ll go forward with for the last 41 games. Richie Sexton was released, so we’ll see Giambi at first base most of the time and Wilson Betemit filling in the gaps. Most notably, Melky Cabrera was sent down to triple a and Brett Gardner was recalled to be the starting center fielder, the plan being to have Johnny Damon DH and Xavier Nady play left field. Two games in, the Yankees are 1-1 with 39 to play and to make the playoffs, we calculate they’ll have to go about 30-11, which will give them 94 wins. Anything less may result in the first post season to not feature the Yankees since the strike.
It’s going to take some getting used to – Melky really won us over with his great defensive play, but the Yankees were very unhappy with his offensive production and he’s made some poor plays in the field of late. In an extra inning affair (Yankees vs Royals, Aug 16), Brett Gardner came up with 3 hits, including a game winning walk off rbi single. The Yankees continue to leave a zillion runners on base, which is the primary reason for the struggles. Gardner playing well alone won’t do it – players besides Derek Jeter are going to have to come up with big hits with runners in scoring position. We can only hope they wake up before it’s too late. So start counting – the Yankees can only lose 9 more games for the rest of the season.

Yankees post season hopes die
Sep 9, 2008
There’s no putting it off any more – the Yankees 2008 season is over, and their run of consecutive playoff apperances has ended at 13. We’ve known for a while, but it was hard to admit it – the denial ended when we realized we weren’t staying up late for west coast games.
And a good thing, too! The Yankees got punished all night long by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California Angels, Los Angeles, or whatever else they might choose to call themselves. We’ve got a name for them: 2008 World Series Champs. That team is stacked at all places.
But, back to the sadness at hand. It’s always sad to see your team die before the end of the season – take it from us, we’re Knicks fans! We’re going to keep the bitching about injuries to a minimum.
So, at who’s doorstep shall we lay the blame? Several doorsteps:
the offense: short and to the point, the Yankees just didn’t hit with runners in scoring position this year. True, they’ll probably score more runs in 2008 than first place Tampa, but look who won more games (obviously)
the starting pitching rotation: Sure, Mike Mussina pitched well, but Andy Pettitte needed to step up when Chien-Ming Wang went down, and he didn’t – he also didn’t have that trade mark good second half. Darrell Rasner had some good starts, but he never really filled the roll the Yankees gave him, and that’s no surprise. The idea that Sidney Ponson was going to come in off the scrap heap and get it done seemed crazy, and he almost did it, too – and that, again, would be way more than we’d expect of him. He and Mussina would have several more wins if the Yankees had hit for him. Counting on the young starters like Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy turned into a disaster as neither have contributed a big league win ALL YEAR.
There were some who did the job in 2008:
the bullpen: These guys did a great job. Sure, Mariano Rivera was pretty useless in tie game situations, but he made the most of save opportunities. Edwar Ramirez impressed us in 2007 (despite what we would refer to as Joe Torre’s mishandling of the bullpen) and really did a nice job this year. We were really happy with Brian Bruney – his injury was a major disappointment, but he avoided surgery and came back and was effective. Jose Veras also did a nice job, throwing the ball hard and accurately. Even Kyle Farnsworth was having a decent year before he was traded.
Jose Molina: God Bless Jose Molina. He did a find job handling the pitchers and came up with some big hits with runners in scoring position. God Only knows where this team would have been without him. Pudge Rodriguez was certainly useless, but we’ll get to that next.
Now, on to a separate issue. What do you think of what we’re calling ‘The Brian Cashman Initiative’? We break it down like this:
Off Season – no trade: Cashman favored holding onto the young talent (namely Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy) rather than trading them for Santana. Obviously, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy’s value is not as high now as it was then, and Santana is one of the best pitchers in the game. But, CC Sabathia is available THIS off season, and he only costs money.
In Season trades: Cashman also brought in Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte, which seemed like one of the great robberies of all time. Marte has not done that well, but he has good stuff and the Yankees gave up nothing to get him. Nady is a solid workman, the kind of player the Yankees really need. We’re very excited about him.
The acquisition of Ivan Rodriguez for Kyle Farnsworth seemed like a great idea at the time; Pudge is a 14 time all star and Farnsworth makes us extremely nervous. Now that we’ve had time to study it, the idea of bringing in a new catcher during the middle year does sound overly ambitious – learning all those new pitchers is a tough chore.
The bottom line: The Yankees didn’t get it done this year – the best finish they can hope for is third. Sure, they’ll be back next year, featuring an improved starting rotation and hopefully a lineup that feels a new sense of urgency and hunger. We’ll have to wait and see.

Summary: The New York Yankees 2008 season was the first season that they did not make the playoffs since 1994, the strike shortened season. We attribute this to key injuries: Chien-Ming Wang and Jorge Posada. The presence of Darrell Rasner in the rotation for most of the year, pitching to an ERA of about 5.50, was a run too high, and Andy Pettitte didn’t have a very good second half. Mike Mussina reinvented himself and won 20 games for the first time in his career. Alex Rodriguez had a terrible month of August by hitting into over ten double plays. Mariano Rivera had another very good year, but struggled in tie game situations. The Yankees elected to go with young pitching, but neither Phil Hughes nor Ian Kennedy had a single win for the bombers. Kennedy, who had a rib issue, was heard to comment that it ‘hurt when I breathe’, which sounds pretty bad. Hughes eventually rejoined the team and pitched well, so the Yankees probably still have hope for him, although he will probably start the year at AAA Scranton Wilkes Barre. Robinson Cano also struggled and was finally benched for a few games in September, a move long over due by new manager Joe Girardi. Although we weren’t happy with his management of Cano, he did a very good job with the bullpen. After all was said and done, the Yankees were finally eliminated in September and finished the year with 89 wins. With Tampa Bay’s improvable 97 win season, the Red Sox clinched the Wild Card with 95 wins while the Chicago White Sox won their division with – you guess it – 89 wins.

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